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The ABCs of A/B Testing Banner Ads

Posted by Jennifer Dragon on August 5, 2015 at 11:40 AM

A/B testing banner adsA/B testing, or split testing, is a tool that online marketers use to compare two versions of a piece of content to see which one performs better. These tests may be run on various types of content, including Web pages, banner ads, social media posts and blog entries. A/B tests, which can run for any length of time, give marketers insight into which kinds of key phrases, design elements and calls-to-action are most effective.

According to Marketing Land, U.S. digital ad spending hit an all-time high of $49.5 billion in 2014, and 16 percent of that, or $8 billion, was spent on desktop ads alone. Banner ads aren't going anywhere anytime soon, so it's important to make sure you're using them to your best advantage. Optimizing your banner ads with A/B testing can help you stand out from your competitors and reach your audience in a meaningful way. Here are three of the benefits of performing these tests on banner ads.

Better Understanding of Consumer Behavior

Though you may have done focus tests, taken local surveys and researched SEO trends relevant to your brand, nothing can give you a window into consumer behavior quite like actual consumer behavior. A/B testing banner ads is a great way to test out different messages to see which ones resonate with your audience. Say you have a local fair-trade coffee shop you're trying to market. You might try split testing banner ads that focus on new drinks to see which ones consumers are the most excited about. These tests can help marketers figure out which ads are most effective, and businesses can then use this information to inform their decisions about menu choices and limited-time promotions.

Optimization Opportunities

While there are plenty of tools available to marketers, A/B testing provides a unique opportunity for businesses to truly hone in on what messages are important to the consumers they're trying to attract. In your fair-trade coffee shop, you could use A/B tests to see whether or not broad messages about sustainable coffee would convert more consumers than a specific ad about new coffee drinks. Marketers can also test out different calls-to-action to see which ones consumers respond to the most. Companies can then build off of this information to create more targeted campaigns down the line.

Better Campaign Performance Overall

Though many of the benefits of A/B testing have to do with improving future performance, this testing provides some immediate assets, as well. Because this marketing tool involves using multiple highly targeted messages, marketers can ensure that they're reaching the consumers that are most interested in their products with a message that is tailored specifically to them. While not all split tests will be extremely successful, your campaigns that are A/B tested will typically perform better than those that are not, because they reach out to consumers who are already at least somewhat interested in your brand, and the testing will tell you which aspects of your brand are resonating the most with them.

While paid campaigns do require some investment, the capital spent is well worth it, as A/B testing provides you with valuable insight into consumer behavior, which you can use to tailor your message to your audience.

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Topics: Premium Display and Banner Ads, Interactive Design & Creative

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